Issue #32 of ZINE is our final one for 2018, and who better to lead it than our Senior Account Manager Talitha on a topic she loves - community gardening.
"I love the outdoors and gardening. The simple connection with nature, watching the garden grow and enjoying the rewards of fresh produce is so basic but humbling.
Recently, my neighbours and I decided to create a shared community garden space in the area behind our houses, with the ambition to bring our community together as well as making a beautiful space to hang out in.
The idea of community gardening isn't a new one, but at a time when our lives' can feel so insular and stressful, community and gardens are proving to be increasingly helpful remedies.
A 2012 study from the University of Pennsylvania found evidence that a park or community garden may reduce crime in the area immediately surrounding the space and that residents living near the garden overwhelmingly reported feeling safer.
So, with that in mind, here are 6 examples of people, places and organisations feeding my love for community gardens.
The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
Some community gardens are about the simple joy of making a beautiful space, others are more through necessity; providing food security for fresh, nutritious produce to live on which is cheaper than the supermarkets.
The DBCFSN operates a seven-acre non-profit community garden that sells its produce locally in Detroit.
Originally created in 2006 to provide security for Detroit's Black community and to organise the city residents to take a leadership role in the food security movement, the group now aim to influence public policy, engaging in urban agriculture, promoting healthy eating, encouraging cooperative buying and directing youth towards food-related careers.
I love this community garden created in an abandoned old Brewery in Minnesota.
The ‘garden’ has become more of a farm, as they now produce so much they actually sell to restaurants and greengrocers in the area.
The website design is beautiful too.
More local to the UK, we have a wonderful nationwide grassroots movement, Incredible Edible.
Powered by passion and small actions, the ‘propaganda gardening’ movement is about creating community, sharing knowledge and supporting local businesses.
The group works to reclaim public planters and gardens in the local area, planting and maintaining the spaces.
With councils strapped for cash, maintaining gardens has been de-prioritised so Incredible Edible volunteers have stepped up and made many of our towns flourish again.
The movement was started by a small group in Todmorden in 2012 and now has 100 groups around the UK.
Please watch this TED talks which the Founder Pam Warhurst did back in 2012.
I love how she defines growing food as a unifying language across people from all backgrounds regardless of money, lifestyle or ethnicity.
Manchester City Council
This may seem like an odd source of inspiration but in 2005, Manchester Council started gating the ends of the alleyways of the traditional terrace houses to reduce burglaries.
They then provided a small contribution to community groups wishing to transform their new space into a shared space.
This prompted communities across the city to create wonderful shared gardens to bring people together.
Recently Oldham Council launched their ‘Love Where You Live’ campaign to reduce fly-tipping. I love their transformation pictures online and at their exhibition over the Summer.
Community Garden Blogger - Sarah Venn
Sarah’s Instagram feed provides inspiration and learnings for flowers and gardening. Like me, she also has a tiny garden which gives me hope I can create something beautiful with what I have.
The Urban Kitchen Gardener by Tom Moggach
This book is an endless source of information on how to make the most of small spaces, how to plan your space, maintain it and cook the fruits of your labour.
Tom is also an amazing food photographer. You can check out his Instagram here.
There’s a lot to do with our community alleyway so no photos yet.
Whilst we’re working it, we’ll also be watching the RHS’s ambitious Bridgewater project with anticipation and volunteering when we can. Wish us luck.